Am I nuts? (rhetorical question, don't answer)
May I present my latest purchase, a seven hundred and fifty dollar nut.
This is a unique piece of artwork from renowned die sinker, John Adams Bolen, carved in 1903 on a nearly 3 inch Tagua Nut. It's known as "vegetable ivory" because of its resemblance to animal tusks.
Bolen struck many medals in the 1860s through 1880s. He is probably most fondly remembered for the Pioneer Base Ball Club medal, which is said to be the first depiction of our national pastime in medallic form:
He was a true artist, and when he retired, he began to carve figurines out of hard Tagua Nuts to keep himself busy. Where in the world he got tagua nuts is anyone's guess. They only grow on palm trees in South American tropical rain forests, quite a ways from Massachusetts! This one is beautifully fashioned into a gargoyle and is signed "JA Bolen, 1903" on the base, two years before his death.
I have seen others dated 1905, but none this early. These never come up for sale, so I had to go for it! I'd love to hear your comments.
Thanks for looking!
Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
"Coin collecting for outcasts..."